Because there is a new Marilynne Robinson novel, there is a new Marilynne Robinson profile in the New York Times.
I think you should all read it. Robinson is so perfect, as a writer, that I often postpone reading her new books (oh, speaking of: buy Housekeeping, buy Gilead, buy Home, make some tea, adopt some cats, acquire a cloak and a house in the woods, live a different kind of life and be a more thoughtful person) because of the knowledge, gained over time, that they will sideline me for weeks, not with the usual envy one can experience in the contemplation of a writer who is truly a Genius Who Walks Among Us, but also because she interferes with my ability to muddle along.
Look at this (emphasis mine):
I mentioned a phrase she once used to describe what it felt like to have been her mother’s daughter
“I remember it — ‘regally mothered’ — my mother certainly remembered it and was certainly not pleased.”
I asked what her mother had taken it to mean.
“Not a television mother,” Robinson replied. “There was something about her. Her body language. A kind of aesthetic dignity she never forgot. She never relaxed away from it, even as a mother. When I say that people are too poorly suited to life in the world for this to be the definitive human condition, my mother is a very good instance of that, and my father is equally.”
WHEN I SAY THAT PEOPLE ARE TOO POORLY SUITED TO LIFE IN THE WORLD FOR THIS TO BE THE DEFINITIVE HUMAN CONDITION.
they are just chilling, waiting to be brought food in a restaurant, and Robinson is like “look at us all, miserable and alone, stumbling along, so there has to be something else.”
now i kind of think that people are too poorly suited to life in this world for this to be the definitive human condition
OR NOT? I don’t know. But I definitely know, and just said histrionically on Twitter, that if I could write like Marilynne Robinson, I would believe in God too.
Nicole is an Editor of The Toast.